Originally posted by Proper Knob
We are told that the God of the Bible is a 'he'. Down here on planet earth male and female are differentiated by their sexual organs. I am a male and I have the requisite plumbing which makes me male. So if the God of the Bible is a 'he' as scripture states, does he have the same plumbing as me? If he does, how can a spirit have a willy? If not, what is it then that makes him male?
Hebrew (like, e.g., Spanish) has no neuter gender. Everything (willy or no) ends up being he or she. The patriarchy (“kyriarchy” ) may end up imposing the “maleness”, but they have little real linguistic support, even from Torah/Tanach. For instance, “Yah”—as in hallelu Yah—is feminine. Shekhina
(immanent or indwelling presence) is taken to be the decidedly feminine aspect of the godhead.
Two forms of the standard Jewish blessing phrase—
Masculine: Baruch atah Adonai
Feminine: Brucha at Yah (Shekhinah)
The second would not be said by an Orthodox Jew, but is found in the siddurim
(prayer books/liturgies) of both the Reform and the Reconstructionist congregations (don’t know about the Conservatives).
Note: The “ch” is pronounced something like a softer, deeper-in-the-throat version of the Scottish ch in “loch”; kh is a somewhat firmer guttural—though, according to one Hebrew book I have, even native speakers may have difficulty distinguishing the two (my pronunciation is terrible).